Faith, Grace

When Confronted By Our Humanity

When Confronted By Our Humanity

I have thought about little else since it happened. The whole scene replays itself on a grueling slow-motion loop in my head. From beginning to end I’ve relived the misery of it, rehearsing my own disturbing reaction again and again, ad nausea. I have debated, which is worse, my righteous anger directed at God for allowing this, or the stranger’s unfettered rage taken out on my family. The bitter truth is that sin is sin, and in the end, I owe my own confession.

After being run off the road and assaulted verbally, fully intimidated by a complete stranger–who seemed in those heated moments, capable of worse than attempting to cause an accident, it is my own responsive rage that unnerves me.

But for the grace of God pinning me to my seat, I don’t know what kind of retaliation I had within me. In hindsight, I am deeply grateful for the paralyzing power of the Holy Spirit, without which the whole terrifying scene could have ended in hospital rooms, jail cells–or worse.

Spiritual Misfit

I’ve tried to understand what possesses some people to behave in such a way as this stranger did. But I find I cannot question his actions without facing my own internal reaction. It was as if a wild animal rattled around behind the bars of my rib cage, scratching and clawing to be unleashed. In my fury I hurled accusations at God, questioning His sovereignty and His love and protection. With each condemning thought I felt the weight of my stone heart hardening within.

Why have you forsaken me?

I ask this of God, and He echoes this very question back to me.

In a stunning display of faithlessness, I imagine that God had changed the channel. That he had grown weary of my reality, and He was now rather more interested in the events unfolding on Sarah or Matt’s channel. Worse than this ridiculously unbiblical yarn of thought is that there’s no basis for it whatsoever, not biblically, nor experientially.

On the heels of a season where God so clearly and overtly demonstrated His rapt attention to both the substantial and minute details of my every moment, I am appalled at how a sudden interruption to my otherwise easy existence has the unmitigated ability to project me into a spiraling black hole of doubt and accusation.

I am the chief of sinners.

The saga runs long enough as we wait for the police that I manage to experience the fall, the conviction, confession, repentance and resurrection in just over an hour.

The honest reality is, this isn’t the first time I’ve doubted God’s faithfulness. I’ve long been aware of my Thomas-like tendencies, and so it is probable this won’t be the last time either.

God didn’t step out of the room for another glass of water. Nor is He some slouchy couch potato reclining in the heavens, observing His creation with an edge of disdain or even distraction. Unlike me, He is fully engaged in every life, everywhere, all at once. We were not forsaken or abandoned on the edge of the freeway, as a madman hurled a steady black stream of profanity in our faces. Truly, God was with us; I know it because that is what He promises.

I have a God who guides me over the most formidable peaks and into the most tranquil valleys. Spiritual Misfit, Michelle Derusha

Beyond the smashed up front of my fairly new vehicle, I am most disappointed that my initial reaction was as familiar as Eve’s in the garden. I am appalled at how quickly I jumped at God, unleashing my own string of profane accusations and judgments. I thought I knew better. I believed my theology was stronger than that. I never like being accosted by my frail humanity. My unrelenting battle with pride too often allows me to live under the false belief that I am better than that–or maybe, simply, better than.

I’ve rehashed the event a thousand times in 3 days. In the end I find no more answers and only more questions of myself.

I also find grace.

I find forgiveness, for Christ’s sake, under which I begin again.

#IAmASpiritualMisfit

 

 

 Spiritual Misfit, Convergent books

 

Sharing this post in community with Jennifer, and Emily, and with my fellow #SpiritualMisfit friends at Convergent

 

Comments

  1. Kris, first of all….so glad you were not hurt! Second, I think all of us can identify with the reaction you described, and I also love how the Holy Spirit brought you back around to the truth of God’s detailed attention over every aspect of our lives and experiences. When the enemy would have us live in shame, God would have us walk freely in His forgiveness and grace.

    Reply
    1. Thank you, Crystal. I am deeply grateful for our safety and God’s sovereignty, even as I didn’t believe it in the moment. I know that the enemy would love nothing more than for me to wallow, but Christ triumphs, and I will go on. These trials strengthen us, don’t they?

      Reply
  2. Oh friend! When I think of what could have happened… how scary. I think your anger was natural… a symptom of your fear in the moment. I’m glad the “paralyzing power of the Holy Spirit” held you still, but don’t be too hard on yourself. But thank you for giving us a peek at our own hearts and pointing us to grace. I’m so grateful for you.

    Reply
    1. I am grateful for you too, Sandy. This post poured out into my journal yesterday, and as I have typed it and shared it publicly, I feel the weight of my own self-condemnation lifted. He LOVES messy me. He covers my weak faith and strengthens me to climb higher with Him. So much love for you, my friend. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  3. Oh Kris, I am so, so sorry for your accident and for the despair it provoked. Honestly, I’ve never thought about the “paralyzing power of the Holy Spirit,” but yes, I believe that’s exactly what kept you pinned to your seat, protecting you. I’ve been here, too, shaking an angry fist, wondering where He is. And I’ve come out the other side, always. Thanking God that you did, too. {and thank you, too, for the submission to the Convergent contest – this is powerful, friend}.

    Reply
    1. Yes, always coming out on the other side. His never-ending grace continues to lay me low. I am grateful we are safe, and nothing is broken that cannot be repaired. I gained perspective that night, an angle I didn’t know I needed. Love you, friend.

      Reply
  4. Such an experience! Oh my. But I love this post, especially this: “I am appalled at how a sudden interruption to my otherwise easy existence has the unmitigated ability to project me into a spiraling black hole of doubt and accusation.” So true! I have been there many times.

    Reply
  5. HisFireFly

    when truth is shared with bravery and clarity
    as you have done here
    many others feel able to breathe again
    knowing they are not alone
    in the desperate need for grace
    the gift He bestows lavishly
    the gift He died to give
    and we, unworthy yes, receive
    for His glory, always His glory

    Reply
  6. Missindeedy

    Oh, yes Kris! I can so relate to that caged behind the ribcage feeling! It’s unnerving and unwanted and unholy. Maybe that’s why I hate that feeling so much – it reminds me how very human and dusty I actually am. I needed this today as I remember that I am not better than, but forgiven. I love your words so.

    Reply
  7. My dear writing sister – how lovely. How astute. How open. As I discover a season where I need to extend forgiveness, not merely surrender to a situation out of my control, this comes at the perfect time to resonate with my own dealings with another’s actions. Surprising and forceful, I noticed such Spirit-growth in my own heart to even allow myself to break the cycle of self-blaming and carrying weight never mine, into relinquishing the things, the people, I cannot control and giving it away.
    But I’d missed the very vital step towards truly moving on and past – forgiveness. I thought I had, so I did not listen to the hints that I have work left to do. Work and actions I can control – my own. Your words here, further assured me that I have miles to go before I sleep and promises left to keep and He is ever-with me, by my side, moving my soul from one degree of glory to the next. Working on me and in me and through me and with me towards a deeper fellowship with Him.
    Thank you. Thank you sister for helping my own heart on this journey. Countless times have your words done this. Today is no different. Be enriched and encouraged my friend. You are not alone in your bouts of questions and realizations and repentance. You are in a company of thankfulness and love.

    Reply

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